Greetings from the Postdrome

It’s a bit weird that my first Medium post would be about migraines, as they’re something that only hit me once every month or two — and only plague me really badly once or twice a year.

But here I am, somehow feeling compelled to document my experience while still in (what I hope will be) the last hours of its now tenuous grasp, the postdrome phase, also commonly referred to as the migraine hangover.

I think I’m writing this because I feel like a jumble of contradictions all at once — so drained and so elated, so exhausted and so guilty. So grateful for the relentless, throbbing pain of the last 48 hours to have subsided, so intensely relieved because I’ve just spent the past several days deep in a hole of pain and misery and nausea and it’s come to an end, but at the same time, still so physically, mentally and emotionally out of it that I feel incredibly bummed, like I’m just a big waste of space.

It’s like I’m not really here, not really experiencing my life, though I feel like I should be feeling better and resuming my regular activities, acting like a normal human being, now that the headache itself has gone away.

Do any of you get migraines?

If you do, I’m so sorry.

I had so many plans for the past week, all of which were completely dashed once this beast arrived.

Rather than do what I had planned — build my business, meet new clients, enjoy time with my honey — I spent hours in half-sleep, unable to look at a screen or listen to something soothing or focus on text — just sitting in quiet, dark rooms holding in the nausea and praying for it to end.

But even now that the pain is gone, I’m stuck in this migraine hangover phase, just a big lump of lameness, feeling lazy and crazy and incredibly lethargic and more than a bit down. Here‘s a bit of what’s currently going on (and given my current state of mind, I can’t organize it any more clearly than in these bullet points):

  • I was supposed to lead a team of volunteers at my usual Sunday soup kitchen spot, but I had to cancel and I feel incredibly guilty about this — so much so that I burst into tears when my husband left to go volunteer without me this morning.
  • I somehow just found a way to get myself up and unload the dishwasher, and I do not kid you when I say that it took everything in me to do it. (Yes, I find this ridiculous and embarrassing.)
  • I normally consider myself a pretty articulate person, yet I’m finding trouble forming coherent sentences just writing this post.
  • I’m so afraid of another migraine being triggered (and still a little sensitive around bright lights and loud noises) that I’m writing this inside with the shades drawn and with sunglasses on. Even more ridiculous and embarrassing.

The good thing is, the rational, sentient being that has been hiding out inside this body of mine over the past couple days knows that this postdrome phase is normal and, even better, that it will pass soon.

Perhaps I wrote this because I’m so thankful to those who have documented their own experiences, who have helped me realize: (1) I’m actually not crazy, (2) I really have just been through an episode of “extreme neurologic disruption” as Clinical and Pathophysiological Anatomy of a Migraine Attack puts it, and (3) that I’m not alone.

Hopefully this will do the same for some other poor individual who stumbles upon it themselves when they’re feeling this same way.

We’ll be feeling better soon. I know it.

And until then, here are 30 tips for dealing with the migraine postdrome from Buzzfeed, of all places. Hilarious.

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